GFI Software research reveals failed data backups in SMBs

Posted in News Updates

A new survey from GFI Software shows nearly one-third of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not test backup solutions for effectiveness

According to the survery SMBs are losing critical business information as a result of failed backups, and have suffered significant impacts as a result. Many IT administrators surveyed revealed that a failed backup has led to a loss of revenue and important company documents, including financial records, employee emails and confidential information such as social security numbers. As a result, respondents indicated that failed backups have affected customer relations, business operations and brand reputation.

The independent, blind survey of 200 IT administrators who work at organisations with fewer than 150 employees was conducted by Opinion Matters <> on behalf of GFI Software. The survey results highlight the backup behaviours of IT administrators, including methods of managing data backup, the frequency and speed of data backup and the impacts of a failed backup.

Managing Data Backup
One way to prevent data loss is to backup critical business files on a daily basis. However, more than half (53%) of the organisations surveyed revealed they do not conduct daily backups. IT administrators indicated the biggest reason for not backing up data every day is that it’s not an efficient use of their time, according to nearly one-third (32%) of respondents. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of IT admins said backing up data that frequently is “not necessary” or that there’s “not much data” to backup.

In direct contrast, 10% of IT admins said the biggest reason they do not conduct a daily backup is because they have too much data. Other respondents suggested they do not conduct backups every day because they lack the resources, efficient technology or sufficient storage space. Some respondents – including 75% of those who work at organisations with 50 to 99 employees – said daily backups are disruptive to workplace productivity.

The Need for Speed
When asked how their current data backup processes could be improved, the number one factor cited was speed, with half of respondents indicating they wish their current backup processes were faster or more efficient. Other factors included cost (14%), security (6%) and reliability (5%), while an additional 6% said they wish their organisation’s data backup processes were managed by a third-party.

Cloud Concerns
Nearly two-thirds of organisations are not managing their data backup through the Cloud, instead relying upon on-premise or virtual data backup solutions. Respondents cited cost, security and reliability as top concerns with a Cloud-based backup solution. Others suggested they prefer to have complete control over their data backup, while some indicated they were still considering their backup options. One in ten organisations relies upon a hybrid approach to data backup. One IT admin indicated Cloud-based backup is only part of the solution. “We still recommend a physical backup because of a possible internet outage.”

Data Loss
In order to protect critical information, companies need to regularly test their backup solutions to ensure they work properly. However, nearly one-third (32%) of IT administrators surveyed revealed their organisations do not conduct such tests. The healthcare industry is among the most lax, with two-thirds of respondents revealing they do not test their backup solutions for effectiveness. Perhaps not coincidentally, two-thirds of respondents in the healthcare industry revealed their organisation has experienced a data loss.

Other industries in which a high percentage of companies do not test the effectiveness of their backup solutions include: sales, media and marketing (63%) and architecture, engineering and building (56%).

Data Recovery
Successful data backup is critical. But equally, if not more important, is the ability to recover that data when needed. While only 6% of respondents rely on daily data recovery, one in five respondents indicated they need to recover their data on at least a weekly basis. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (74%) of IT admins said they recover their data at least once every six months.

Those respondents who indicated they were not able to recover data due to a failed backup cited loss of revenue and critical business documents as the biggest impacts on their business. Other IT admins said their organisations suffered the following consequences:

· The loss of data “caused weeks of problems with clients.”
· “We lost records pertinent to our organisation that were unable to be duplicated and had to be reinvented.”
· The impact of the data loss was “…huge, in terms of meeting deadlines and productivity.”

“A company’s data is essential to its day-to-day operations and, ultimately, to the success of the business,” said Andy Langsam, general manager of IASO at GFI Software. “As such, organisations need to be able to rely upon secure backup solutions that are cost-effective and efficient. Speed is the number one factor IT administrators said they wish they could improve about their current backup process. It doesn’t matter whether an organisation is backing up its data on-premise, virtually or to the Cloud. Backing up critical systems and applications on a large number of machines within an organisation on a daily basis needs to be a fast process that does not impede workplace productivity or impact operational efficiency.”